“For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.” (Jeremiah 29:8 NKJV).
When Ahab (the evil king of Israel) invited Jehoshaphat (the righteous king of Judah) to be his ally in his fight against Ramoth Gilead, Jehoshaphat insisted on consulting God to know His mind before going to the battle.
The Scripture records, “Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for God will deliver it into the king’s hand.” (2 Chro. 18:5 NKJV).
Although four hundred prophets of Ahab saw and prophesied victory for the kings in the battle, and even one of them demonstrated with horns of iron how they would gore and destroy their enemies in the battle, yet Jehoshaphat was not fully persuaded in his spirit and so asked, “Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of Him?” (2 Chro. 18:6 NKJV).
Like Jehoshaphat, you also must be careful today not to hurriedly act upon any prophecy from any prophet without being persuaded in your spirit as a result of the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the genuineness of the prophecy in your heart.
On the insistence of Jehoshaphat another prophet of God, Micaiah, was brought before the two kings to prophesy. But contrary to the prophecies and assurances of victory that the first four hundred prophets had given the kings, Micaiah prophesied defeat and death of the king of Israel in the battle.
Micah prophesied thus, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.'” (2 Chro. 18:16 NKJV).
As expected, Micaiah’s voice and prophecy stood no chance among four hundred contrary voices and prophecies. Not only was Micaiah’s prophecy despised and discarded, he also received a dirty slap from one of the prophets. He was also thrown into the prison to be fed with the bread of affliction and given the water of affliction to drink.
But, eventually Micaiah’s prophecy was the one which came to pass. The king of Israel died in the battle and all Israel was scattered in the battle and they fled back to their houses (2 Chro. 18:33-34).
It is vital to ask, “Why and how were the four hundred prophets deceived and thus prophesied deceits to the kings?”
In Micaiah’s attempt to buttress his awkward and unpopular prophecy, he revealed why and how they were deceived.
Micaiah reveals in 2 Chronicles 18:
18 Then Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right hand and His left.
19 “And the LORD said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab king of Israel to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner.
20 “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’
21 “So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the LORD said, ‘You shall persuade him and also prevail; go out and do so.’
22 “Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you.” (NKJV).
From the above divine vision that Micah saw we can deduce the following reasons for the error or deceit of the four hundred prophets.
First, the four hundred prophets were deceived by a lying spirit because they were Ahab’s prophets:
Ahab’s prophets were vulnerable to a lying spirit because they also were sycophants and deceivers (2 Chro. 18:21, 22).
Paul warns, “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:13 NKJV).
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7 NKJV).
Deceivers or liars are also vulnerable to deceptions or deceits!
Ahab’s four hundred prophets were deceived because they were not true prophets of God. They were called and chosen by Ahab for his purposes and pleasures. They were men under his care and authority and thus they had no boldness or courage to tell him the truth, or to rebuke and correct him.
All that Ahab’s prophets were hired and paid to do was to prophesy only what Ahab desires, wants or loves to hear. Similarly, when you pay a prophet to prophesy to you, he is bound to prophesy to you only what will excite and gladden your heart. For he who pays the piper dictates the tune!
Second, Ahab’s prophets were deceived to deceive Ahab because Ahab himself detests truth:
Ahab’s prophets knew what Ahab loved and wanted to hear. Therefore, they prepared their mind to prophesy to him what he loved and wanted. The lying spirit simply energized Ahab’s lying prophets to package and present attractively the lies Ahab had always loved to hear.
Like Ahab, many people today are being deceived by false prophets simply because they love lies, deceptions, sweet and enticing words of men’s wisdom, and not the truths of God’s Word.
Beloved, beware of prophets who constantly feed from your table or pockets, for they would not have the courage to tell you the truth, or to rebuke and correct you when you stray from the path of righteousness.
Like Ahab, when you turn your ears away from the truth, you will only be turned to fables, deceits, lies and flatteries.
Paul warns in 2 Timothy 4:
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (NKJV).
He also warns in 2 Thessalonians 2:
11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (NKJV).
Friend, we are now in perilous times when seducing and lying spirits are actively at work in the lives and ministries of many professed prophets and pastors, thereby energizing them to propagate and broadcast false doctrines and destructive heresies (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
Therefore they are “teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.” (Tit 1:11 NKJV).
Beloved, love and seek for the truths of God’s Word. It is only as you delight in God’s Word and spend time daily to prayerfully meditate in God’s Word that your mind will be renewed and you will be able to discern the lies, deceits, flatteries, sweet and enticing words of sycophants and lying prophets in the world today (Rom. 12:2).
The Scripture admonishes:
“For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.” (Jer. 29:8 NKJV).
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 NKJV).
“Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. (1 Thess. 5:20-21 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending me timely warning to beware of lying prophets. Help me Holy Spirit to constantly, continuously and consistently incline my ears and my heart only to sound teachings of Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.